Tag Archives: Tour

Wrapping My Head Around Cambodia’s Killing Fields

Choeung Ek

Some things in life are just too awesome to fully comprehend. And at Choeung Ek, an otherwise nondescript orchard a dusty 17 kilometer tuk-tuk drive outside of the Cambodian capital of Phnom Penh, that statement holds true in the worst possible way imaginable.

Between 1975 and 1979 the Khmer Rouge regime under Pol Pot killed roughly two million people. The truth is, nobody really knows how many men, women, and children fill the roughly 20,000 mass graves that dot Cambodia’s landscape. Estimates range from a low of about 700,000 to over three million.

Words like atrocity and genocide are powerless to adequately describe the madness that is Cambodia’s Killing Fields.

Cambodia Killing Field Choeung Ek

The ground ripples with excavated mass graves

Even touring a place like Choeung Ek, one of Cambodia’s most notorious execution camps, only offers the slightest glimpse of what transpired during those four unimaginable years of Khmer Rouge rule. And yet the magnitude of the horror at that single site is still impossible to behold.

Read More…

The Caverns of Sonora

Caverns of Sonora, Sonora TX

A worthwhile stop in its own right, the Caverns of Sonora is also perfectly situated to break up the long drive through West Texas. A small campground with water and electric right at the cave makes it especially convenient for those of us with RVs or tents.

We had originally planned to go on the “Discovery Challenge Adventure” tour that requires a 50 foot repel into the cavern. The high price ($120 each) repelled us alright, but that probably turned out for the best. As we understand it, the Discovery tour doesn’t go into the areas of the cave with significant formations. And Sonora’s formations are some of the most unique and spectacular we’ve seen anywhere, including the path through the “Belly of the Whale” shown above. Check out more photos of Sonora on our Facebook Page.

We owe a special shoutout to CountrySkipper.com (another Travel blog) for giving us the 411 on Sonora. We drove straight past it in the fall and probably would have missed it again on our way back west had Sabrina not given us the heads up. Thanks for the awesome tip!

As a reminder, reader suggestions are always welcomed. Let us know about the great stuff hidden in your backyard that doesn’t make it into guidebooks. If we can get there, we’ll write about it here.

Delayed Gratification

Ben & Jerry's One of the things that kind of sucked about our tour of the Ben & Jerry’s factory in Waterbury, VT, was mint chocolate chip ice cream. It was almost like they intended to taunt us by putting a display in the tasting room exalting their new flavors for 2010: Mud Pie, Dulce Delish, Boston Cream Pie. Do you think they served any of those? Nope. Mint chocolate chip. They have all of those great-sounding ice creams and, to reward the folks who made an effort to come to their factory, they dish up a mediocre flavor that everyone has had dozens of times before. Not a brilliant marketing move, to be sure. I doubt anyone rushed to the store to pick up a pint of mint chocolate chip after the tasting. We sure didn’t.

Ben & Jerrys New Flavors 2010But when confronted with three of these new flavors in the freezer at Hannaford’s the other night, we forgot all about the transgression from a month earlier. Good ice cream trumps bad marketing every time. But maybe there is a method to their madness. Had we tried some of the flavors, we could have made an informed decision. But without any information we acted like the good little gluttons we are and bought a pint of each: Snickerdoodle Cookie, Dulce Delish, and Boston Cream Pie (image unavailable, heh, heh, heh). Well played, Ben & Jerry’s.

I don’t know about the other flavors yet, but I have to say they nailed Boston Cream Pie.

Ben & Jerrys Flavor Grave YardThe tour itself was pleasant enough. It consisted of a short but entertaining film about the company’s history, a look at the ice cream making process, and the infamous tasting. The grounds include a cleverly conceived graveyard for flavors that have gone to the great beyond. Some flavors obviously died because they blew, but it was interesting to learn that some were simply taken out of circulation to make room for new flavors, while others contained specific ingredients that are no longer available. It is good to know that Ben & Jerry’s is willing to axe popular flavors rather than pollute them with substitute ingredients. Good for them. That commitment to quality is likely the reason Ben & Jerry’s factory is Vermont’s number one tourist attraction. But for me, better tastings can be found at the supermarket.

%d bloggers like this: